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Newbie here -- need desert resources

Posted by jeff_12422 (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 19, 10 at 16:04

Hello! I'm new to the low desert and also new to gardening in general, so if there is a better place for me to find answers to my very beginner-oriented questions, please let me know!

We have a tomato plant that we bought last July. It did great for awhile, and I guess it's dormant now for the winter. It's a few feet tall, and has a few green tomatoes still on it. I've read different things about what to do with tomato plants come winter. Do I cut it down to the ground? Leave it be and let it continue to grow in spring? Or rip it out and replant from seed?

I'll be starting new plants from seed in the spring -- how early can I start them (inside or out) so we have lots of tomatoes all summer?

Can anyone point me to "desert rules" for the vegetable garden that don't apply to the parts of the world that get real winters where nothing grows? I'm confused as to when to take everything out of the garden (we also have a square foot garden full of veggies) and let the soil rest. Is there a time to do that? I thought it would be in the summer, but then I see that melons and cucumbers and tomatoes all grow in the heat, so...... Help?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Newbie here -- need desert resources

Here is the list of links I put together. When watching the videos keep a pencil and paper handy because there will be lots of information to digest. Desert gardening is typically done in a raised bed in home gardens. A lot of the links are on growing fruit trees which is what I do most but there are plenty on gardening.

I hope you find the links and information helpful.

Deciduous Fruit and Nuts for the low desert

Arizona Planting calendar

Home Vegetable Gardening Part 1

Home Vegetable Gardening Part 2

How to Prune Tomatoes

Month-By-Month Gardening in the Desert Southwest

Desert Gardening

Arizona Master Gardener Manual

Plant Disease Part 1

Plant Disease Part 2

Home Orchard Part 1

Home Orchard Part 2

How to plant a fruit tree

Understanding Pesticides Part 1

Understanding Pesticides Part 2

Grafting Fruit Trees

A Word about Rootstocks

Growing Blueberries in your backyard

Fruit Trees for Arizona

George’s Pruning Demo

Cheep or Free Multch

Planting and Care of Landscape Trees Part I

Planting and Care of Landscape Trees Part II

I have watched the videos in those links at least once and several of them more than twice. Let me know what you think of them.


RE: Newbie here -- need desert resources

Wow, thanks! I just started the home vegetable gardening video, and am hoping to have some time next week to watch them all.

RE: Newbie here -- need desert resources

You might also like the '10 Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden" from the U of A Extension.

The keys are soil preparation, soil preparation and soil preparation. No need to buy soil for a garden just water the area first and wait several day so it isn't sticky. Then incorporate 4 inches of organic mulch or compost and perhaps coarse sand, perlite or pumice to improve drainage.

For perennial landscape plants the rules are a bit different. I posted a link to planting guidelines below.

You'll find lots of great folks on this forum that will help you as you learn about gardening and landscaping in the low desert.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting guidelines

RE: Newbie here -- need desert resources

Protect it from frost and the tomatoes will continue to ripen. They are a short-lived perennial if they don't freeze.

We were harvesting them just before Christmas, and they re-sprouted early in the spring.

RE: Newbie here -- need desert resources

Wow, thanks! I just started the home vegetable gardening video, and am hoping to have some time next week to watch them all.

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